Solar Hydrogen Bio-Mimetic Energetics (sHe-BioME), a New and Emerging Sub-Discipline of Zoological Medicine and the Wildlife Biological Sciences
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009
Carl J. Lange1, BSME, MSME, PE, CPEI; Khan Sakeeb2, BS, CE; Zarin Anika2; Estuardo Rodas3; Todd Losey3, BS; Daniel Grey4; Kam Chuen Chan; Kelin Chen5; Fouad Issa2; Mahmoud Abdeldayem2; Viktor Roytman4; Alvin Zhang7; Horace E. Walcott3*, DVM, MSPH, MSc
1Lange Technical Services LTD, Deer Park, NY, USA; 2Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Brooklyn, NY, USA; 3Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, NY, USA; 4Columbia University, New York, NY, USA; 5School of Engineering, and Applied Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA; 6Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA; 7Cooper Union, New York, NY, USA


We have been developing equations on the bioenergetics of aquatic and air borne species for hypothesis testing by experimentation. Along with morphologic data and fluid dynamics data, we are combining data on the chemistry of hydrogen combustion to develop drone crafts for use in wildlife investigations. We are also designing a novel robotic tranquilizing gun, which does not require charges or pressurized carbon dioxide. Major design features of the gun have been derived from ethno-botanical and aerodynamics data on the blow pipe.


The post World War II evolution of Scientific Medicine from Techno-Medicine to Info- Medicine, has not been in synchrony with the need to advance ecologically sound approaches in biomedicine and engineering.7,18,20 The practice of medicine can be hampered due to the current energy crisis and environmental tipping points.4 One unexplored area is the confluence of zoological medicine, comparative animal bio-mechanics, the fluid dynamics of avian and aquatic animals, mechanotronics and the electrochemical thermo-dynamics of hydrogen combustion.17,19

We have been testing hypotheses in the above-indicated area defined as solar hydrogen electric bio-mimetic energetics (sHe-BioME). Our studies have focused on the development of autonomous aircrafts, boats, and submarines, which in terms of structure and energetics mimic specific aquatic and avian animals.5,19,22,23,25 Germane to the developed hypotheses are allometric equations on the power of the drone vehicles relative to hydrogen combustion and the application of anatomic and bio-physical data.21

In addition, we have also conducted ethno-botanical and aerodynamics studies on the blow pipe. The data from the blow-pipe studies are being used to develop a robotically controlled dart gun, which does not require charges or pressurized carbon dioxide.8,9

Materials and Methods

Aerodynamic studies were conducted by Fedotov, Yee and Walcott, to explore hypotheses: that the propulsion of darts are governed by the Gas Laws, Poisuillies Equation and the Bernouli Equation.1,5,8,9,11 Data from the ethno-botanical studies of the blow pipe have been used in the design of a pneumatic dart gun. 10 The dart gun will be robotically controlled and will be part of the payload of a solar hydrogen electric autonomous air sampling vehicle (sHe--AAV).20

Allometric equations developed by Mc Neill to summarize the propulsive power of animals in fluids were modified and used for the development of a drone submarine, the drone aircraft, a drone water sampling boat and a buoyant micro-power plant.17,19 In our thermodynamic studies, we are examining the relationship of Gibbs Free Energy from hydrogen combustion, and the mechanical power components used for the propulsion of the drone crafts. Three varieties of robotic fish (Hammacher Schlemmer, are used as external standards for thermodynamic comparisons with the three drone crafts, which use water as a fuel. Morphologic data of avian and aquatic species, electrochemical thermodynamic data and mechanotronics are used in the construction of the drone crafts.17


The investigations of Fedotov et al., have demonstrated that the forced expiratory volume used for the propulsion of darts in a blow pipe is governed by the gas laws, Poisuilli’s Equation and Bernouli’s Equation (Equations 1–4).8,9,11,13 The ethno-botanical studies have indicated a similarity in structure of the blow pipe due among different nations in the Amazon. Two models of dart rifles are undergoing development. The barrels replicate the hand-crafted blow pipes of the Amazon and a non-polluting chemical reaction is used for the propulsion of the dart. (Figures 1 and 2).1,10

Figure 1. The proximal segment of the barrel of a blow pipe with the hour glass shaped mouth piece
The dart has a fletch made from wound Ceiba cotton wool and the tip end is coated with dark resin like curare syrup. In the insert are two views of the piercing tip profile, laterally and in cross section. The firing chamber is the segment of the barrel anterior to the mouth piece.


Figure 2. The Green Dart Rifle: Lange Rifle, which is electro-pneumatic

Our thermodynamic data suggest an equivalence between the rate of Gibbs Free energy expenditure or generation and the sub-components of Mc Neill’s allometric equations (Equations 5-7). Fluid dynamic studies on a wind turbine and water turbine have demonstrated the production of electrical energy, which splits distilled water into hydrogen and oxygen in 3V and 12 V proton exchange membranes of fuel cells (Equations 8 and 9).5,20

Equation 1

(Poisuille’s Equation for the blow pipe and dart rifle)

V = ∆P π r 4 / 8 η l

∆P = pressure change at the two ends of the firing chamber of the blow pipe ; r = radius of blow pipe; η = air viscosity; l = length of blow pipe firing chamber

Equation 2

(Bernouli’s Equation for the blow pipe and dart rifle)

Ps+ 0.5ρ0v2 = Pt

v = velocity of the fluid; ρ = fluid density; Pt = total pressure and Ps = static pressure

Equation 3

Power (P or ΔG H+O/Δt) of flight of a fixed wing aircraft (sHe- AAV)

Ptotal ≡ ΔG H+O/Δt = profile power + induced power Ptotal = [(ρυ3CoA/2) + (2κΜh2g2/πρυα)]

ρ = air density; υ = speed of air; Μh = mass of the sHe-AAV; κ = I = induced drag factor; g = gravitational acceleration; α = wing span/chord

Equation 4

ΔG H+O /Δt = [(ρυ3CoA/2) + (2 κΜh2g2/πρυα)]

Equation 5

For the sHe- AUV:

ΔG H+O /Δt = parasite power = 0.5 ρAυ3CD

A = total surface area of the craft and CD = drag coefficient based on total area

Equation 6

(Wind Turbine, wind hydrogen electric bio-mimetic energetics, wHe-Bio-ME)

ΔG H+O /Δt = I (current) V (voltage) = 0.5 ρπr2v3

ρ= air density, v= mean wind velocity

Equation 7

(Water Turbine, hydromechanical hydrogen electric bio-mimetic energetics, hymekHe-BioME)

ΔG H+O /Δt = I  (current) V (voltage) = 0.5 ρπr2v3

ρ= water density, v= mean water current velocity


The dart rifles will use an electro-pneumatic firing mechanism. The data from studies on the bio-mechanics of the tentacles of the Portuguese man-o-war (Physalia physalis) will be used for the design of a more energy efficient winch for the submarine probe of the drone water sampling boat.17,22 Some unexplored areas of sHe-BioME include nano-chemical studies to develop more efficient PEMs, the quantum mechanics of photosynthesis and flexible ultra-thin solar panels.14-16 In the future we will conduct bio-mechanical studies on insects to develop autonomous micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs), capable of injecting therapeutic agents into free ranging animals and collecting fluid samples.2,3,6,12,22,24,25


Allometric equations, which summarize the bio-mimetic energetics of hydrogen electric power can be used in combination with comparative anatomy and the fluid dynamics of avian and aquatic species to design drone crafts applicable to zoological medicine.17 A novel dart gun is undergoing development. The applied anatomy of air borne and aquatic animals have the potential to contribute to the significant greening of veterinary medicine.19


This research was supported by grants from the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Research Foundation. Dr. Haldane Rogers of Brooklyn Tech was a consultant on the aerodynamics studies of the blow pipe. The microscopic examination of the dart tips was conducted in the laboratory of John Cunningham at Brooklyn Tech. Without the technical guidance of Ms. Jessica Dolan, Assistant Curator of Harvard University Herbaria, the many plant specimens and artifacts could not have been identified and examined. Dr. Gustavo Romero of Harvard University Department of Economic Botany, with his vast field experiences, provided useful insights into the ethnobotany and ethnotoxicology of curare and the blow pipe. The members of the library staff of the Harvard University Herbaria were generous in their assistance in the location of rare documents on economic botany.

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Speaker Information
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Horace E. Walcott, DVM, MSPH, MSc
Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn, NY, USA

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